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Old 09 Jan 2012, 06:40 pm
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Default Acura ILX Concept ushers in era of entry-level luxury

Filed under: Concept Cars, Detroit Auto Show, Sedan, Acura

It's no secret that Acura has had a rough couple of years. After an extremely successful launch in the late 1980s, Honda's luxury marque truly hit high gear in the mid 2000s with such successful models as the TL sedan and MDX crossover. And then things went south with a fury that sent the automaker reeling into regroup mode.

The brand's stumbling blocks were many and diverse - from the styling of the redesigned 2009 TL and TSX, which we'll charitably describe as divisive, to the scrapped plans for a V8-powered rear-wheel-drive RL replacement - but the net result was a precipitous drop in sales. Clearly, a new strategy was in order.

Enter the upcoming ILX sedan. While Acura isn't calling its new compact luxury sedan a replacement for the TSX, we're inclined to think the automaker doesn't need four sedans, and the TSX is within spitting distance size-wise to its higher-priced sibling. Don't be fooled by the 'concept' label, either - the ILX will be coming to a showroom near you in the spring of 2012 almost exactly as you see it here.

As you can see, the ILX is a mix of bold creases and flat surfaces, and it's what we'd consider a much-toned-down version of Acura's previous styling direction. Let's all be thankful of that. There's a shield-shaped grille up front, but it's not nearly as prominently displayed as on models like the TL and TSX, instead blending in more seamlessly with the rest of the car's overall design. Also note the boldly upswept character line highlighting the rear doors and quarters.

Three powertrain options will be available: a base 2.0-liter four cylinder mated to an automatic gearbox, a 2.4-liter four with an exclusive six-speed manual transmission and, finally, Acura's first hybrid drivetrain, which will be very similar to the one seen in the Honda Civic Hybrid. Expect a 1.5-liter engine with Honda's well-known IMA electric motor assist and a CVT transmission.

The Acura ILX is based on the same platform that underpins the Honda Civic, but, having seen the ILX sedan in person, we can tell you it doesn't share any styling features with Honda's compact. And that is a very good thing, as Acura needs its ILX to be seen as a premium product. To that end, there will be a number of high-tech options inside, including a Technology Package, Pandora internet radio and integrated text messaging functionality.

We'll have live photos of the new ILX Concept shortly, but in the meantime, be sure to check these stock photos released by Acura, along with the press release that's pasted after the break.Continue reading Acura ILX Concept ushers in era of entry-level luxury

Acura ILX Concept ushers in era of entry-level luxury originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 09 Jan 2012 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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